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Ashby Conservation Commission
Wetlands are an important resource to Ashby.
They protect, filter and provide the high quality of drinking
water in our wells. They support fish in our streams and ponds.
They provide the habitat and food sources for the birds and
animals that make Ashby a unique place to live. And, they keep
large tracts of land open and undeveloped so that our children
and grandchildren might also experience the quality of life that
we enjoy in Ashby.
The Ashby Conservation Commission is charged
with protecting those Wetlands under Mass General Law Chapt. 131
Paragraph 40 - the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act in
accordance with the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations (310 CMR
10.00). In that effort, the Commission has accomplished a number
of things over the course of the last year that you may or may
not be aware of.
- Assisted Landowners and prospective buyers
in identifying existing wetlands on their property that
are protected by the Wetlands Protection Act.
- Over 82 site visits were conducted.
- 17 Determinations of Applicability were
issued. This is a formal response to a request to
determine whether or not a project is required to make a
filing under the Wetlands Protection Act.
- Assisted builders in planning and
completing their projects while protecting Ashby Wetland
Orders of Conditions are recorded
on the deeds of these properties. During the year
only 6 requests were made for similar Conditions
to be removed from deeds because the projects
were completed according to plan. The Commission
would like to remind property owners that Orders
of Condition are valid for only 3 years. After
that time, they may be extended, if a request is
made in writing. Or, if the project is complete,
the commission will issue a Certificate of
Compliance to allow the landowner to have the
Order removed from their deed.
- 25 hearings were held for Notices of
Intent to work within a resource area or its buffer zone.
- 25 Orders of Condition outlining how the
projects are to be conducted to minimize their impact
upon our wetlands were issued.
- The Commission has responded to calls for
emergency actions from residents.
- 2 Emergency Work Certificates were issued
to allow work to proceed without the hearing process.
- 3 Enforcement Orders were issued in
response to reports of wetlands violations - filling,
dredging or altering a wetland without a valid Order of
- The responsibility of the Commission, as
spelled out in the Conservation Commission Act (HB 18.9)
is to protect the community's natural resources. In that
effort, the Commission has worked with the following
Boards and Offices within the Town and out of Town on
conservation issues over the past year:
- Ashby Highway Department - to plan road
resurfacing in sensitive wetland areas and repair
drainage culverts that allow wetlands to pass under
roadways without damage to either the wetland or the
- Mass Highway - resurfacing Route. 31 from
intersection with 119 to Fitchburg line
- Mass Highway - replacement of a stone
culvert under Wares Road. which carries a tributary to
Pearl Hill Brook
- Board of Health - to certify wetlands
boundaries that might impact proposed new septic systems
or replacement systems
- Board of Health - to plan and monitor work
at the sanitary landfill and plans for the cap.
- Board of Health - to find a workable
solution to flooding of septic systems by beaver ponds
- Planning Board - to review, approve and
supervise construction of sub-development fire ponds
- Planning Board - to suggest and/or review
revisions to zoning regulations
- Planning Board - to lay the groundwork for
an Open Space Committee
- Board of Assessors - to identify open
space within the town
- Building Inspector - to enforce building
code violations and monitor for wetlands violations
- Board of Selectmen - to negotiate or
consult on issues brought to their attention, such as
- Gravel Removal Board - to participate as a
member in the resolution of issues and disputes
- The Ashburnham Conservation Commission -
to issued an Order of Conditions to allow limited weed
chemical control in Little Watatic Pond
- An Open Space Plan is a requirement for
eligibility for State Self-Help Funding (HB 8.1, 8.2) for
open space acquisition by the town. The Conservation
Commission is working in joint effort with the Planning
Board to establish an Open Space Committee for the
express purpose of producing an Open Space Plan for the
Town of Ashby.
- An Open Space Plan is an inventory of the
town's natural resources along with relevant maps and
plans for future growth and open space acquisition. It
will be a map for the future growth of the town. It is
the document that identifies some of the more important
pieces of land for recreation, wildlife and wetlands
resources; all of which are vital for the preservation of
the country character of the town and the quality of life
that it provides for its residents.
The Open Space Committee will be composed of a
variety of subcommittees, each charged with completing
one aspect of the Open Space Plan. It is crucial to the
success of the Open Space Plan that Ashby residents take
an active role in defining their vision of Ashby in the
year 2020 and beyond.
- The Commission has maintained a membership
in the Massachusetts Association of Conservation
Commissions for over 12 years. The Commissioners have
attended educational workshops sponsored by MACC in
Wetlands Protections, Plant and Soil Identification,
Wetland Replication Techniques, Open Space Protection,
and a variety of workshops offered at the annual
conference in Worcester.
- Commission members are also active in the
Nashua River Watershed, the Ashby Land Trust, the Open
Space Committee and the Greater Gardner Sustainable
- In the coming months, the Commission will
be working with the Montachusett Regional Planning
Commission to gather samples of other towns' Open Space
plans and to receive assistance in writing grants to fund
portions of the research, monitoring and documenting
required by an Open Space Plan and/or locating free
resources or expertise for assisting with some of this
- There are currently five Conservation
Commissioners. They serve for a 3-year term. They are:
- Roberta Flashman - Chair - Commission
expires in 2001.
- Robert Leary - Vice Chair - Commission
expires in 2000.
- Robert Bertram - Treasurer - Commission
expires in 2001.
- Janet Flinkstrom - Secretary - Commission
expires in 2000.
- Carolyn Damon - Commission expires in